University of Newcastle Medowie Women In Research Fellowship Success

Doctors Jessica Allen, Bernadette Drabsch, and Heather Sharp represent Medowie in Fellowship success.
Doctors Jessica Allen, Bernadette Drabsch, and Heather Sharp represent Medowie in Fellowship success.


THREE women with Medowie connections were this week awarded Women In Research Fellowships at the University of Newcastle.

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Doctors Bernadette Drabsch, Jessica Allen, and Heather Sharp (News Of The Area’s own contributor reporter) were each awarded worth $30,000 to pursue their research.

In an issued statement, Pro Vice Chancellor Professor Deborah Hodgson said, “The aim of this program is to focus support on promising female academics whose career progression has been impacted.”

“Through addressing barriers to progression for women, UON will support our outstanding academic talent to achieve their desired research outcomes,” Professor Hodgson said.

Dr Drabsch’s research will locate, record, analyse and disseminate the Aboriginal rock engravings and pictographs which will assist understanding of the earliest stages of Australia’s history.

In an interview with News Of The Area, Dr Drabsch encourages young women, saying, “It doesn’t matter where you live or what school you go to, all that matters is your attitude.”

“If you do your best, read lots of books, ask lots of questions and work your butt off you can achieve some pretty cool things.”

“To the women of Medowie I would say, challenge yourself mentally and see what you can achieve.”

“I had two kids at primary school and a secretarial job when I made the decision to challenge myself and enrol in Open Foundation at the University of Newcastle.”

“It was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life and I’ve enjoyed every moment of the journey since.”

Dr Allen, who is a former Wirreanda Public School student and 1997 Dux, researches sustainable and innovative ways to store carbon materials.

She encourages young women to pursue their dreams and not box themselves in, telling News Of The Area, “Women and young girls are often led towards certain careers because they are traditionally ‘good’ at them.”

“I was good at English and creative writing in primary school, but in high school I realised that I also enjoyed maths and chemistry.”

“I’m a chemical engineer and University lecturer, but I also still dance and perform with my beautiful Medowie dance studio (Studio2Stage).”

“You can be creative, be artistic, love pink things and puppies and be good at maths and engineering.”

“You can be whatever you set your mind to!”

Dr Sharp’s research investigates the teaching of difficult and controversial pasts, the influence of public history in teaching, history teaching pedagogies, and school curriculum.


By Rachael VAUGHAN

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